In college and high school, I took some random jobs that were not exactly “life changing-fill your soul up” kind of jobs. The goal was to get money to save for college expenses. And because of that I came out of college (twice) with zero debt. Well these random jobs and applying for every scholarship I was eligible for did that.
Last night I was reminded of one of my least favorite jobs I had in college.
The dreaded alumni phone-a-thon.
I received a very sweet call from a current Clemson student who was basically trying to get me to give money to make “Clemson better.” I mean really why would some random student call me just to talk: I don’t think so.
My heart went out to her because for one semester my freshman year of college, I was her.
We had a list of alumni that we had to call “begging” for their donation.
First of all, I hate phones.
Second, I hate conflict.
Third, how awkward is it to ask money from total strangers? For me, it was very awkward.
With my phone anxiety at the time, this really wasn’t the most ideal job. Honestly it was the worst.
Our team would have competitions to see who could gather the most donations each night. Surprise that I never one. I called it a successful night if I didn’t have someone yell at me for interrupting their dinner. There was one lady who yelled at me because her son had passed away (who was the alum) and to stop harassing her. Information noted and updated…
Every call I made, I had a pit in my stomach expecting the worst conversation of my life. A little dramatic but did I say that this was the worst job for me?
There were a few successes. I did get to have some lovely conversations with people who were education majors or were also in band like me. People like to talk about commonalities you know. My biggest donation was I think $100, and I about fell out of my chair in shock. I also did make a few friends who were in the trenches with me on the calls.
This was not the greatest job for me because of the anxiety of pissing people off and not seeing them face to face (not that I really want to see someone who I have pissed off face to face, but you get the idea). It was however the beginning of my introduction into Student Affairs. I did learn a lot about how institutions function. It also provided me with perspective from Alumni that I would never have seen otherwise. It helped me come out of my shell a little bit, and I worked through some of my cold call phone anxiety. But it is something I would never voluntarily do again.
So when this young woman called me last night, I couldn’t help but feel for her. I didn’t want to be that person who caused her anxiety or hung up on her. Because I had been in her shoes, I knew as soon as she started talking that she was going to get my money. I have donated every year, but when you get the call it does become more personal. I didn’t do it out of guilt, but more out of camaraderie because I had been a fellow phone-a-thoner. And I gave more than I usually do because I know on the back end how that will feel for her. I hope she continued to have a pleasant night.
So note to my Alma Maters, call me every year and you for sure will get my support. Because I am a sucker.
It does feel good to give back to your schools, especially since I was given so much through the experiences there. It is my small way of trying to help someone else have those “life changing-fill your soul up” experiences too.
I will say, Central needs to step up their game. I have never received a call from them or any emails about donations. And my phone and email have not changed high school. What has happened since I have been there?
Anyway, Go Tigers and Go Mules!
Do you give back to your Alma Maters? What was your worst job?